The Stone Poneys are now remembered only as Linda Ronstadt‘s first group.
But although she quickly overshadowed her colleagues and assumed top billing, when their eponymous debut LP came out in early 1967, it was dominated by original material penned by the other two members of the trio, acoustic guitarists Kenny Edwards and Bob Kimmel.
The Stone Poneys (1967) tends to be overlooked by 60s folk-rock fans, perhaps because they associate the group with the more mainstream Southern California studio sound of Linda Ronstadt‘s later hits.
However, the album has little to do with her solo work and is instead a pretty charming record, if modest and barely electrified. The threesome’s coffeehouse folk roots are obvious in the clean, close harmonies, which all sounds rather like a hipper Peter, Paul & Mary.
The session musicians brought on board to flesh out the sound on The Stone Poneys were Cyrus Faryar on acoustic guitar and bouzouki, Pete Childs on acoustic guitar, John Forsha on acoustic and electric guitars, James E Bond Jr on bass, and Billy Mundi on drums.
The Stone Poneys made a commercial breakthrough later in 1967 with their cover of Mike Nesmith’s Different Drum, which made the Top 20.
But although their second and third albums were worthwhile as well, they weren’t quite the work of the same band.
Ronstadt had already been picked out for her potential as a solo artist, and Edwards and Kimmel were virtually frozen out of the act by the time of the third and final Stone Poneys LP.
Ronstadt herself viewed The Stone Poneys in an unreasonably harsh light in the early 70s, carping to Rolling Stone that “The Stone Poneys tried to combine the roots with rock and roll, and we were miserable”.